Fairfield County Winter Wonder
By Tia Dauterman
Winter is a special time in Fairfield County! In the colder Ohio months, there is still plenty to do; whether you enjoy the chill, or prefer warming up from the crisp, cold air, the area provides opportunities to have fun year-round in a charming, small-town setting. Only 30 minutes south of Columbus, Fairfield County is an excellent escape this winter right in central Ohio.
Fairfield County offers many experiential themed trails; these adventures create an opportunity for you to explore locations around the county related to your interests. This winter, why not embark on the Fairfield County Covered Bridge Trail? Our county is home to 15 original, historic covered bridges (the most in any county in Ohio). These historic sites are true architectural wonders that stand out beautifully in our snowy countryside. The covered bridges are easy to explore with Visit Fairfield County’s Covered Bridge Trail Guide, available digitally on the Visit Fairfield County app and website; and those who prefer tangible copies of the guide can pick up the brochure at the visitor center in downtown Lancaster, or request it to be mailed.
Once you’ve enjoyed a scenic, snowy countryside drive, you may feel inclined to get out of the car and stretch your legs at a number of parks that offer miles of hiking trails. Breathing in the crisp air during a brisk winter walk can feel so rejuvenating! Explore a variety of parks and nature preserves, like Smeck Park in Baltimore, or Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve near Sugar Grove. These outdoor recreation spots are just a short, 30-minute drive from Hocking Hills and provide a nice change of pace for hiking enthusiasts and casual walkers alike.
But if you’re wanting to push yourself and enjoy stunning views, Mount Pleasant in Lancaster’s Rising Park is certainly an experience worth seeking. This 20-minute uphill hike is steep, but the summit offers an incredible, panoramic view of the city. And on a clear day, you can even see the Columbus skyline to the northwest.
With so many outdoor adventures to be had and wintry landscapes to see, you’ll eventually want to warm up at a local establishment. If a hot (or iced) coffee is your way to unwind, check out the FC Java Trail. This self-guided experience highlights several cozy cafés across the county with the help of the Visit Fairfield County app. The Java Trail also offers an optional challenge; use the app to check in at each coffee shop along the trail to earn a prize at the visitor center. This trail spans all the way from Millersport Coffee near Buckeye Lake to Spade’s Café in the small town of Amanda, so you will surely find your perfect cup.
After indulging in a delicious drink, a trip to a local eatery is in order. Restaurants like Ale House 1890, Baltimore Pint House, and O’Huids Gaelic Pub offer exquisite, cozy atmospheres with appetizers and entrées that will keep you feeling warm all winter long. From the rustic ambience found in a local restaurant to the European-inspired decor of an Irish pub, these places will surely satiate your appetite and make you feel at home.
If craft brew is more your style, stay refreshed this winter by exploring the Route 33 Brew Trail, which consists of six local breweries with varying styles and spirits. With a special passport in hand, you can discover all six breweries and receive a unique stamp at each location. Upon completion, you’ll earn a commemorative pint glass as a memento of your experience. These breweries also often feature grub from food trucks if you’re looking for a quick-and-easy meal while enjoying a pint.
But if ciders and ales aren’t your thing, you may consider the FC Sweet Tooth Trail. Similar to other Visit Fairfield County trails and challenges, this endeavor will have you exploring local sweet shops, like Al’s Delicious Popcorn in Pickerington, Candy Cottage in Lancaster, Sweets to Taste in Bremen, and more. Indulge in baked goods and candy confections while supporting local business. This trail is also particularly popular in the winter months as it coincides with Valentine’s Day. Surprise your friends and family with a thoughtful treat from Fairfield County – it will surely be memorable (and delicious).
Regardless of how you like to spend your winter days, Fairfield County has plenty of ways to keep you busy and enjoying every moment! A visit to this small-town getaway, not far from Columbus or Hocking Hills, could be exactly what you need to start your year off right. And once you visit, you’ll want to see what else the area offers across the seasons; from our beautiful, blooming springs, our fun summer festivals, and our annual autumn experiences, there’s so much to see and do right here in Fairfield County, Ohio.
For more information, call 740-654-5929, go to VisitFairfieldCounty.org, or download the free Visit Fairfield County app for iOS and Android
Fairfield County Winter Wonder